...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )
Archive for July, 2007
Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
just saw a red fox. no more than 10 foot away. it trotted across the back yard, jumped 4 foot up on a pile of wood, then another 3 foot to the top of the brick wall and trotted off – acted more like a cat than a dog. this is even more amazing because we’re in an urban southeast portion of london. now i’m waiting for howling dogs, blowing horns, and the horse herd of rich fat farts in red coats chasing after. i say, old chap, care for a spot of tea?
speaking of tea, or at least beatnik tea, we found some red leaf skunk. now we’re doing the skunk funk.
odd returning to london. we went from cleveland to chicago to london last august when we started traveling. now we’re retracing part of our path – returning to london, south france, cleveland, then moving to chicago to live. by going back to where we’ve been, we find how we’ve changed along the way. it’s easier getting around the second time around. we’re less starry-eyed, though more perceptually appreciative because we see more clearly with our travel educated eyes. easier to set up our own poetry readings this time in london because we did the ground work a year ago on our first visit. who knows who we’ll be by the time we get back to cleveland in october after 14 months of world travel.
Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
THE DIGESTIVE TORSO
Looking at Smith’s head in bed I’ve come to a realization. Heads are brain pods, stalks on the body in which the brain is encased. The body’s digestive system is the function of the body. The brain serves the digestive system. The brain sprouts eyes, nose, intake organ, all of which are meant to search for food, ingest food, savor food.
Legs and feet also serve our digestive torso. They move the torso through terrain. Fingers are little grasping tentacles with which digestive fuel is scooped into the intake orifice on the brain pod. The eyes are close to the intake orifice to facilitate insertion of fuel.
The brain pod is at the head of the digestive system. The asshole is at the end.
The digestive torso is a worm with a skeleton, a worm who can walk upright and gather loose roaming food. A worm with eyes and a skull. A worm who chews. This terrifies me.
Monday, July 30th, 2007
LIVIN LIVES ON OLD LIES
I says’m as I sees’m.
Seize not what sold to sum.
Hadn’t done, wouldn’t be.
Do what told be gone.
– Smith & Lady collab
Most people worship the past; live their lives on old lies. Too many worship and conform.
You gotta use the dead as the starting point. A guide. It’s what’s gone before you grow to later. It’s collaboration, that’s what it is. Do what told be done.
If you meet your past on the road, you should kill it. Yes.
“My enemy is my past. That’s what torments me now.”
No. That’s what got you here. Hadn’t done, wouldn’t be.
I sound kinda wise. If I can take all these little answers and build them up, I can have a bigger answer. I get a bunch of bigger answers and build them up, I can get bigger yet. Eventually, I can figure things out.
“It’s kinda like playing Tetris. How do you know you won’t get any blockages?”
Oh, they’re guaranteed. Plus, I get things wrong, I miss other things in plain sight… but I do get more right than wrong. Believe in right and wrong.
“So what are the small things?”
Finding anwers on the Internet. Predicting Flow.
“And the bigger things?”
Two little things together can frequently connect into something bigger. That’s what living’s all about.
“I think that’s wisdom: knowing the scope of things.”
I think wisdom is knowing things cost. And there’s better or worse for everything. And basically, better is better.
Monday, July 30th, 2007
we have a black cat asleep on our kitchen table, and we’re grateful. he disappeared for three days, worried the heck out of us – probably to make us miss him so we’d serve him better when he returned.
lady’s trimming my ear hair in a vain vague attempt to make me appear human. have a feeling i’m going to be one of those old men with massive dark ear and nostril hair. may as well make it a fashion statement. i’ll grow both long, then braid each ear’s hair to its closest nostril in a curving free form sideburn sort of way. mine nose mucous for hair gel. the braided loops would eventually grow so long i could put my arms through them like a pair of suspenders and hold myself upright.
this will be my closing poem when lady k has her city poetry reading at the Poetry Cafe aug 17 in Covent Garden (John Clarke, Sue Johns, Patrick Cunnane, The Worm, Lady K, Smith reading followed by open mic). the one time i read this in public, it rather livened up the evening.
You know what time it is?
It’s pumpkin time.
No, not pumpin time
cuz at midnight
everything turns into
and the mice run away
Now midnight you also might
be pumpin pie,
depends on what yer doin
at the time
you might be fuckin
might turn into a pumpkin
So you fuckin pumpin
watched Michael Moore’s “Sicko” last night. eye opening-est film i’ve ever seen. brings tears to the eyes, shame to the heart. sad to be american oftimes.
Sunday, July 29th, 2007
there’s a very odd interesting site called Ball and All – it’s a collection of over 500 names with various fotos and bits about each – names ranging from frank zappa through parmahansa yogananda to the three stooges. it’s also the largest non-smith smith site online
go to BallandAll.com
at top of home page, click the Directory By Name box
scroll down to and click on Smith, Steven B
click on foto of smith
a menu of 139 links to fotos, poems, songs, reviews etc will appear
warning – songs are not songs so much as psycho assaults.
speaking of psycho ass alls… cheney’s having his pacemaker batteries replaced – but to have a pacemaker, you need a heart – and we all know cheney is heartless. if we’re lucky, they’ll give him a dead battery.
and they say george if-i-only-had-a-brain bush’s colon polyps turned out to be benign. that’s a laugh – the entire man is a cancer on america’s soul, and needs to be radiated. besides, he’s an asshole inside out, top to bottom.
the cheney-bush beast needs be exorcized.
of course by saying this, i probably put myself on the list of the 400,000 americans to be placed in the secret detention centers that vice dick cheney has halliburton/kbr constructing for when they declare martial law.
re that, this from commondreams.org:
“Meanwhile, last October Bush and Cheney, with the help of a compliant Congress, put in place some key elements needed for a military putsch. There was the overturning of the venerable Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which barred the use of active duty military inside the United States for police-type functions, and the revision of the Insurrection Act, so as to empower the president to take control of National Guard units in the 50 states even over the objections of the governors of those states.
“Put this together with the wholly secret construction now under way â€“ courtesy of a $385-million grant by the US Army Corps of Engineers to Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc â€“ of detention camps reportedly capable of confining as many as 400,000 people, and a recent report that the Pentagon has a document, dated June 1, 2007, classified Top Secret, which declares there to be a developing insurgency within the U.S, and which lays out a whole martial law counterinsurgency campaign against legal dissent, and you have all the ingredients for a military takeover of the United States.”
– Published on Friday, July 27, 2007 – “Martial Law Threat is Real” by Dave Lindorff
also according to this article, Attorney General John Ashcroft started a program called Operation TIPS, a network of tens of millions of citizen spies which would have americans turn in their friends and neighbors to the republican nazis. welcome to the brain camps. welcome to the brain cramps.
i could save myself some sorrow by being silent, but silence is a sin – and there are already way too many silence sinners in america.
Saturday, July 28th, 2007
I left my husband in 2 oh oh 2 for poetry. A month later, I was laid off and a firefighter poet moved in with me. I never got back into an engineering job. I resorted to web development for a couple years at less than half my former salary. In March ’05, I became suicidal from the pointlessness of what I was doing at the office and the futility of my lukewarm relationship. I decided to try bulimia, hoping that if I got thin enough that someone would find me attractive and rescue me or that I’d die bent over a toilet, heart attack from electrolyte imbalance. The firefighter got sick of my sickness, dumped me in June ’05.
I met Smith at the start of my activities in the poetry community. He had a croaking whisper of a voice. He often came to readings smelling like grass. I was jealous of his irreverent poetry, the compelling stories from his past, his outlaw art and his 20 year ArtCrimes publication. I read and re-read the last issue of ArtCrimes, thought it the epitomy of cool. Though jealous of his edge, it didn’t keep me from thinking highly of him, wondering about his life.
I commuted with him to a poetry reading in September 2005. After the reading, we talked past midnight. I asked, “Don’t you want to hold me?” Smith reluctantly agreed, knowing this would complicate things.
We did a full body press. It felt good, right, for both of us. We started hugging, kissing, touching. It’d been at least fifteen years since Smith’d touched a woman. He said, “You can sleep over if you are too stoned to go home.”
I said, “Only if we don’t have sex. I’m involved with several other men.”
So we went to bed in our clothes. I said, “It’s too hot.” I took off my pants, my top and my brassiere.
Smith said, “Oh, no, Lady. Panties go too.”
And that was that. I dumped the other men. Two weeks later, Smith gave me the keys. He said, “It’s not fair for you to wait for me to answer the door.”
And two weeks after that, I moved in.
Smith’s skills as a mainframe programmer were becoming obsolete, and he hated the work. He retired in December 2005. He planned to “fake it” until March 2007, living off his savings until he was eligible for early social security. He convinced me to drop out of the office world, “retire” with him, become his artistic collaborator.
A week after I moved in, we decided to move to Europe. Smith proposed October 16.
Right before retirement, he casually mentioned that he had nodules on his larynx. I freaked out, had him get a biopsy. He was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx. No health insurance.
There were two months of radiation treatments in January and February. At the same time, I was cleaning Smith’s condo and painting and repairing the walls and floor, which were damaged from twenty years of his rough art practices. We’d decided to sell the condo in order to travel, but now we had to sell it because now most of his savings were gone from medical expenses. (I’ve since read that people without insurance pay on average 3 times more than what the treatment costs insurers. This makes me severely angry.)
We were going to get married in January, but couldn’t because I couldn’t dispose of my previous husband. So we married March 18.
During this period we had three art shows, the release of the final issue of ArtCrimes, and bunches of readings… and we created art and wrote about a quarter of his memoir.
I’d never been so happy and sad at the same time. Sad because of the painfulness of dealing with Smith’s illness, and happy because I’d finally found the partner I dreamed of, someone who was a companion, someone with whom I could do art and writing and conversation.
We closed the sale of the condo in June 2006. We had to wait ’til July to see if the radiation treatments worked, getting another biopsy. Regardless, Smith decided we were going to go to Europe whether or not he was cured. As soon as we had the money, we bought our flight tickets to London. In the back of our minds, we weren’t sure they were going to let us leave, that it wasn’t permitted for us to live our dreams. We felt we were escaping.
The July biopsy showed him in remission. August, breathless, we left the country.
We’ve lived together 24/7 since December 2005. Smith’s voice has healed. He sounds like a wise cowboy.
I’ve never been so happy and so sad. I’m happy because I have my road-tested companion, love of my life, and a manuscript… and pictures I can hold in my palms. My thumbs can travel to all the countries we’ve seen.
But I’m so, so sad as well. Now that I have someone to care about, my heart has a home in the world. I’m compelled to care about the world to make it a safer place for me and my love. All global terror is personal terror for me, inescapable from my quotidian existence: the political terrorism of our imperialist institutions, the WTO, the IMF, the non-sustainable practice of globalization, our genocide of 1 million Iraqis, our de facto genocide of 100,000 Indian farmers, my recent disillusionment with the Democrats, realizing their complicity in perpetrating mass corporate and political crime. What is happening to our home, the world? We’re shitting in our own fish tank.
Saturday, July 28th, 2007
since 14 months of continuous world traveling wearies the body and stresses the soul, why do it?
watch hundreds of pre-dawn rabbits hop about the hills in north england …
read our poetry to a london audience who doesn’t know us and likes us for what we are …
walk into an amsterdam coffee house and order grass and hash from a menu …
meet a family in liznjan who housed us for free, occasionally fed us, took us sight seeing as well …
walk under the pre-dawn stars in the south of france …
sit in the sun staring out across the adriatic sea …
have sex in various venues on 3 continents …
hear the evocative pre-dawn prayer chants in marrakech …
learn more about what’s inside you, that you can do so much more than you thought you could …
see how others live and cope …
meet dog friends in croatia and a cat friend in london …
sit on the west african coast & look across the atlantic to america …
meet new poets, new musicians, new artists in their own back yards around the world …
see the 8 foot wingspan of an african stork fly a few feet over your head …
look into the eyes of a camel …
take fantastic fotos in strange exotic places …
watch pink flamingos stand one legged in the mediterranean …
read our poetry as one of the opening acts for an underground rock & roll band in krakow …
be inspired by new people, new places, new things, new you …
become closer to the one you love you travel with …
make new friends …
receive new inspirations …
watch the sky change from land to land …
have thoughts and insights you’d never have at home …
see how other people other cultures view you …
show others a way dreams can be lived …
fill your creative memory banks with years of material to mine in the future …
smoke moroccan hashish in morocco a la william s burroughs …
write new stories, poems …
exercise your people interaction skills …
see historic places where things happened that affect the world you live in …
gather material for blogs …
learn how badly america screws the rest of the world …
discover how cool some of the forgotten good things and people are back home …
satisfy the inner need to run off and join the circus …
find new templates to evaluate old actions …
live life instead of licking other’s lives on the tv screen …
become more self confident within because you’ve done what most haven’t.
what you do and see and learn makes you grow more into what you could be, should be.
and lastly, we all are killing this planet, fouling our nest, poisoning the air we breathe and the water we drink – so see what there is to see now because later no longer lasts very long.
Friday, July 27th, 2007
my unmet myspace friend wednesday kennedy suggested i “write a blog about travel exhaustion and the price of staying on people’s couch’s. i’d love to read that !”
i told her “good idea – i just need to get my brain working,” then realized my brain wasn’t working due to travel exhaustion, etc.
but not just travel exhaustion – lady’s and my mental, physical, psychic and financial expenditures are exponentially greater because we also lost our safe space – our home base place. most folk sit at home, plan travel at home, pack at home, leave home to travel, then return home after a reasonably short interval to relax while assimilating their away from home travel, which is more easily done because they can compare home existence to travel experience.
we sold our home in the usa june 2006, and stayed free in a friend’s shack until we left the u.s.a. august 1, 2006. past 12 months we’ve moved 39 times, slept in 39 serially changing beds as we moved from cleveland through chicago to england the netherlands poland croatia italy france spain morocco and back to england – with some serious serial surreal side trips inter-twined within.
before i enumerate travel problems which lead to physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion, let me say ALL THIS HAS BEEN MORE THAN WORTH IT. i’ll explain why next blog – this is the dark side… sunny side up comes tomorrow.
some of the costs in no particular odor:
spending hours in airports where authorities view you as concentration camp cattle … trying to ascertain which gate your flight leaves from and when … discovering they will change your gate minutes before your flight leaves, sometimes without saying so … not posting gate numbers until minutes before your flight leaves … not announcing your flight is delayed … not telling you your train journey requires train changes along the way … and all those problems are when you speak the language – frequently you can neither speak nor read the language, so all the above become a special psychic tormenting hell of self doubt.
worrying whether you left some object in your bag which will bring the airport possession police down on you (scissors, pens, lighters, make-up, etc) … trying to fit your 6 foot 3 inch body into seats made for thin dwarves for your 10 to 30 hours of travel, seats designed by dr mengele … standing for hours trying to get through hostile rude english passport people … spending hours and hours on the internet trying to find routes, passages, tickets that fit together but always ending up with expensive boring hours or days of waiting inbetween.
once you get where you’re going, you have new languages, new cultures, new customs, new laws, new rules to adjust to … you have no idea how to get from here to there due to bad maps, lack of road signs, roads that have one name east but another west … house numbers when they exist follow no known logic, and they frequently don’t exist … some places have neither street names nor village maps … and some of the folks resent you as rich americans or colonialists or war criminals.
when you don’t read or speak the language you can’t buy what you want or need in stores, and sometimes like i did you gargle with the bubble bath you just bought thinking it was mouthwash because it looked like mouthwash and was between the toothpaste and floss displays in the store … you don’t know where to go to buy your most essential needs … emergency rooms during life threatening situations become terrors of their own when you can’t tell the attendants your problem – for example, when my heart became arrhythmic, they gave me 2 pieces of paper for blood and urine test samples and pointed to the blood room (thank goodness some kind angel took my arm, pulled me into the restroom, pointed at the paper, pointed at the plastic cup, pointed at my groin, pointed at the window with other urine cups) … you don’t know you’re supposed to come back at 11 to pick up the results, so when you go back to the doctor 2 days later to see if you’re dying, she tells you that you have to bus back to town, get the report, and bring it back to her next week because it’s the weekend and they’ll be closed – so you and your wife worry 4 more days.
wherever you go folk treat you as a walking ATM machine because you’re a RICH american … they expect you to shower them with cash … they all want to sell you, use you, eat bits of your flesh, your soul … essentially you exist solely to buy – their stuff, their services, visits to their tourist traps, their hotel rooms, their authentic food served by shills in authentic local costumes while local musicians play the same 3 songs endlessly while constantly passing their begging hats among you even though you’ve already paid to get in, paid to eat, paid for entertainment … in morocco they’ll even invite you to dinner as a gesture of friendship, and then ask you to pay as you leave.
there’s the upset stomachs and diarrhea caused by different country’s widely varying safety of the water supplies … the bad fatty over salted food that’s all that’s available at airports, bus and train stations …. the hours you need to kill waiting for the next stage of bus train plane to depart … there’s the physical stress all these cause, and the mental and psychic stress caused by all the above made even worse by your tired sick badly fed unwashed body … there’s the stink of clothes not washed often enough because many places and nations don’t have laundromats, and you can’t change your clothes often enough because you only have what you can carry on your back and that’s not enough for clean clothes every day so you sniff what you have left to see if it’s still wearable on your unbathed body.
as for the price of staying on other folk’s couches – we’ve been paying our own way. been putting out $75 each day for 12 months so far. but even so worry & stress costs creep in. right now we’re staying for the second time in our london friends place, taking care of their plants and cat. the cat – Marmite – is a marvelous fellow, second only to lady k’s ex-cat 3PO in cool. but something’s wrong with him – his spunkiness turned lethargic, and his ravenous appetite disappeared. we’re waiting right now for him to come back from his daily wanderings so we can see if we have to take him to the vet. i can just see our friends returning in 5 weeks and us handing them their stiff dead cat.
we’ve stayed as guests at other’s governance – and you’re always more cognizant of having to be attentive, considerate, and aware of your hosts’ needs and beliefs. you act differently when you’re a guest. you lose some of your freedom of choice, of movement. you accept social invitations you’d rather not. you’re more subservient when you’re the recipient of another’s generosity. beggars can’t choose.
all this is but a condensed taste of the downside of constant travel. there’s more – i could add endless example, detail, cost, cause. it all causes physical and mental depletion, psychic and physical stress. and, when you’re traveling as a newly married (or even an old married) couple together 24 / 7 / 365, it tests your love and like and understanding of both self and other as well. all i can say about that is i married the only woman in the world for me. i love, like and respect her more now than before we left. i even like, respect and trust myself more now than before we left. all journeys are journeys within as well as without. and you always have to pay for your ticket one way or another – sometimes both. there’s no free lunch – we’re all naked lunch on the end of reality’s fork.
but it’s not all as down and one-sided as i make it sound… will explain why it’s worth it next time.
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Sheep collapse in ruddy mud, cold iron blood shod wool on lavender land. Cows dream in the vocabulary of weather, their neighbor’s soft half chuffs. Gate swung grass, farm machine train under stern word of Father Man.
Beasts blink beat breath, expect next day.
Castlerig Stone Circle, 3000 B.C.
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
the foto above reminds me of politicians world wide, but especially vice fuehrer dick cheney and his middle finger puppet george if-i-only-had-a-brain bush.
saw the most exciting sci-fi film tonight i’ve ever seen – Sunshine. it was as if they took 2001: A Space Odyssey, left in all the beauty, art and majesty, and replaced its boring creaking tediousness with the excitement of Alien. directed by danny boyle, who has at least 3 other fine films: 28 Days Later, Shallow Grave, Trainspotting – and one so-so: The Beach. subwayed down to the prince charles cinema – and even though it is a cheaper second run cinema, it still cost us $9 each to get in. last time in london it cost us $20 a piece to see an art movie. too rich for my poor past. from now on it’s the $3 matinees.
2 more movies i’m pumped about seeing here: david dynch’s newest (Inland Empire) is friday, and guillermo del toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth is monday – del toro has at least 2 fine films: the mexican vampire art film Cronos, and the delightfully human comic book movie Hellboy. saw a preview of Pan’s Labyrinth – looks as magic dark fairy tale as The City Of Lost Children.
speaking of movies, we have 4,552 titles on vhs video in our collection, going back to 1894. anyone want to buy them? you can check them out by directors or titles.
it’s the oddest collection of cross-genre class and trash you’ll ever see – from slime to the sublime.